Harold “Hal” Hart passed away peacefully at his home in Pacific Palisades on Tuesday, January 14, at the age of 96.
Hal was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 26, 1923, to Max and Henrietta Hart. In the 1930s his family settled in Pacific Palisades after a brief residence in Pasadena.
Hal attended University High School in Santa Monica and USC. He loved the Palisades and was an active member of the community for over eight decades.
Hal served with distinction in the European Theater during WWII with the 15th Army Air Force, 456th Bomb Group, 744th Squadron. His only comment on his time flying was: “All I know is that I’m glad my boys didn’t have to go up in those d— B-24s and get themselves shot at like a flock of ducks.”
After his discharge he continued to travel the world as a Merchant Marine and then in sales with the Underwood Corporation. He chronicled his visits to Japan, Korea, Mexico and elsewhere through his photographs.
He married his first wife Jacquelyn in 1955 and raised their children Steven, Emily and Peter in the Palisades. Hal was a regular volunteer with the Palisades YMCA, supporting his children’s various activities. He delighted in driving his vintage Citroën 2CV in many Palisades 4th of July parades.
A lifelong sportsman, active in skiing, playing tennis and bicycling, Hal was particularly passionate about sailing and owned many sailboats throughout his life. He was a classic car enthusiast and enjoyed attending car shows throughout Southern California.
Hal had a distinguished career in the packaging industry. During his over-30-year career at Lermer Packaging, a division of Loral Aerospace, he held the role of Western Regional Manager. He oversaw all sales and manufacturing for the western half of the United States and was honored as the namesake of a Loral manufacturing facility in Ontario, California, in 1993. Hal served as the president of the Western Packaging Association and was named the organizations’ Man of the Year in 1992.
Hal married fellow Palisadian Ardell Armstrong in 1975. They spent many loving years together, until her passing in 2002. Together they enjoyed traveling extensively and spending their days at the Riviera Tennis Club.
In his later years, Hal remained a devoted cyclist, continuing to ride The Strand (beach bike path) well into his 90s. Hal also participated in weekly yoga at the Westwood VA and practiced mindfulness and compassion at the Palisades Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine.
Hal had a great wit and was known for his terrific sense of humor. He never failed to entertain with his vivid storytelling, aided by a phenomenal memory of his life and friends. He was incredibly proud and supportive of his five grandchildren and their accomplishments.
Harold is survived by his three children: Steven Hart of Pacific Palisades, Emily Haas (Ken) of Orinda and Peter Hart (Tracy) of Huntington Beach; and his grandchildren Peter and Patrick Haas and Sam, Kate and Brock Hart.